Must-see QP: The House makes Malala a Canadian

Your daily dose of political theatre

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.

The must-see moment

Strictly speaking, today’s moment has little to do with question period. We join the House of Commons immediately following the daily jaw session, as the prime minister rose on “a happy note.” What came next was no surprise, and was in fact foreshadowed in the government’s Speech from the Throne of Oct. 16, 2013.

In particular, Canada recognizes the courageous and inspiring example set by Malala Yousafzai in risking her life promoting education for young women. She faced down evil and oppression and now speaks boldly for those who are silenced. Recognizing her heroism, our Government will, on behalf of all Canadians, bestow honorary citizenship on this remarkable young woman.

The PM took a bit over a year to fulfil that promise, but this afternoon he asked the House for unanimous consent to a motion that would bestow honourary citizenship on Malala, the young woman who was nearly killed by Taliban attackers in repressive northwestern Pakistan. Earlier this month, she was named a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, parliamentarians rose as one, in one of those Kumbaya moments they all treasure so much. Tomorrow, Malala becomes a Canadian.

The recap

The context

We were watching a Conservative backbencher rise late in yesterday’s question period in a slot traditionally devoted to softballs lobbed to Tory ministers. Randy Hoback, a second-term Saskatchewan Tory, abruptly asked the prime minister what he knew about a possible terrorist attack in Quebec. Only a few minutes before, reports emerged that a motorist in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., had run down two pedestrians and was eventually gunned down by police. Hoback referenced unconfirmed reports that the incident involved members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed he was aware of the developing situation, but parliamentarians were briefly left to draw their own conclusions.

Later, police confirmed the victims were military personnel. Last night, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, died from his injuries. Federal authorities released the motorist’s name, Martin Rouleau, and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson reported that Rouleau was thought to have been radicalized. The Mounties had been monitoring him as part of a number of ongoing national security investigations, and nervous federal officials had seized his passport.

As homegrown terror captures the news cycle, parliamentarians take their seats in the Commons.

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